Shawnee National Forest, ILLINOIS
226 Reviews 122 Campgrounds
Camping Illinois Shawnee National Forest
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Most Recent Shawnee National Forest Camping Reviews
Enjoyed our stay

New campground and trying to get established. Sites are large, staff is very nice and helpful. Didn’t go in restrooms but they look new and very nice. Price was right and we will DEFINITELY be back.

Love this place!

We love the large beach. The campsites have a nice set up and are a decent size. The kids loved the playground. There were kids everywhere and everyone was very friendly! Fun spot!

Small and cozy

My parents stay at this campground a lot when they come to visit us. It has big sites and lots of grass. No pool or anything and a very small play area but it works well for them because they are older and don’t care about those things.

There is a big grassy area in the middle of the loop of wanting to play games and run around.

Highway pull off

This is a campground that is not great for camping. The sites are close together, no shade, mostly cement. If you want a place to get off the highway for the night and the jump back on… this is for you.

Fun terrain

Fun hiking trails and beautiful sites! Hidden away gem for a fun afternoon of hiking. Can be hard to navigate at times but easily worth the climb up and down.

Great place to spend a few nights

Great hiking and great camp site. No shower but the springs offer a refreshing soak after a long day of hiking. Water is easily accessible and clean. Definitely lots of ticks but you’re in nature so it’s a given. Can’t wait to return!

Great place to camp near Bell Smith Springs

Within hiking distance of the springs and very spacious. Lots of places to set up tents and drive into camp. Water access was easy and out houses clean.

Beautiful place!

Great place to go hiking and get surrounded by nature. There’s even a great spot to go swimming and cool down after a day of hiking. Highly recommended for any adventure enthusiasts.

Good times

A lot of good hiking and the view is great

Best campground on Rend Lake!

This is hands-down the nicest campground on Rend Lake. With hundreds of sites to choose from with some being tucked into the woods and others sitting right on the lake including some walking intense fights this campground is one of the nicest that you’ll find in Illinois. Plenty of bathrooms and bath houses as well as playgrounds and spacious campsites for larger RVs and plenty of access to the lake.

Beautiful Rend Lake campground

This is an older state park but still has hundreds of well-maintained sites and if you get to some of the first come sites at just the right time you will have a lakefront campsite to enjoy. Easy to get around and plenty of facilities with bath houses and bathrooms as well as playgrounds for the kids and hiking and biking trails.

Our favorite IL park!

This campground is an absolute gem. Tucked into the tall pines of the Shawnee national forest, this park offers a handful of gorgeous sites for campers to enjoy, many that back right up to Lake Glendale. The sites are mostly private and have water hookups as well as electric. A nearby beach is available to enjoy during the summer as well as hiking trails. While this campground is certainly off the beaten path it is perfect for those that want to get away and enjoy some quiet time. No reservations though so you’ll want to get there ahead of time to ensure yourself a spot If you enjoy a very

Clean sites, friendly staff

We camped here on a pretty hot weekend, and most of the sites are well-shaded and mowed. We liked that we could walk down to the water and that there was a bike trail nearby that we could walk on.

Family friendly campground

This campground was clean, peaceful, and quiet. The sites are well-shaded, and the bathrooms/showerhouses were clean. Our kids enjoyed the playground and walking down to the lake. There is also a beach, but you have to pay $5/person which felt excessive for what it was. The fees were at the high end of what you find around here, so we will not be back often. But we did enjoy our time here.


Great campsite

Black top pads

very clean

excellent view of the lake if your lucky enough to get a lake front spot

fills up very fast

extremely clean showers


We’ve stayed in a cabin twice at this campground. The second time we booked a one room cabin. They had us in their system for a 2 bedroom cabin (which we had the first time we stayed there.) I proved to them I booked a 1 bedroom cabin & it was their mistake to assign us to a higher priced 2 bedroom cabin. Since all the cabins were booked for the night we couldn’t switch to a one bedroom. They would not refund the difference. I called KOA corporate office and the person I talked to was able to see in their computer system what I was talking about. However each campground is an independent business and it was up to each campground to decide how to conduct their business. To me the proper thing to do was to let me have the two bedroom cabin for the one room cabin price. Convenient location.

Wonderful Friendly Campground

Love this campground, very friendly and accommodating. Lots of fun activities on Holiday weekends throughout the summer season

Awesome camp grounds & view!

10/10 would recommend. Super nice and convenient camp sights & not a far walk to the sight seeing location!

Must visit

This is a beautiful place with so much to see! Amazing rock formations, miles of hiking trials, springs to cool off, jumping cliffs. Great campsite, spacious, woody. Little over 20 campsites, get filled on the weekends. If you enjoy the untouched nature, this is definitely a place to visit. On the down side, you pay $10 per tent per night (if you have 2 tents on one site, have to pay $20 per night). bathrooms are not very clean. And the ticks were so bad!! Maybe it is just that time of the year (tick season). Otherwise absolutely beautiful nature!

Great camping

Park is extra clean. Pads are level. Lots of shade. You will love this campground. About a dozen wineries nearby. Love this area and camping ground.

Good campground on the water

We got the last site. #7. It is across the rd from the lake/bay and a short walk from the bathroom and showers. The campground was clean. The bath house was clean, as well. There were a lot of golf carts making the loop for some reason. Maybe 10/ hour until about 8 pm. It didn’t bother us, but it is worth mentioning. The people who booked the site next to ours came in about 7, and unloaded about 12 teen boys. We thought it was going to be another noisy night, but not so. It was a group of Boy Scouts returning home from camp in GA and they arrived, did bedtime routine, slept, got up and did morning routine, broke camp and left by 9 am. From site 7, you can see the water if whoever is in 6 isn’t using a trailer or RV. You can see water, but through trees. There is a little poison oat or Ivy near 7. There is a dumpster on your way out of the campground. No other trash receptacles. I’m including the campground rules and map. Site 7 was a good site, but the lights from the bathroom interior are blinding from this site at night. We hung a bath towel over the tent to help block that when people opened the door. If we return, we want site 6! our maps app sent us 15 miles for groceries. You don’t need to go that far. There is a nice market and cafe, as well as a dairy bar in the little town about 2 miles before the campground off of Cosby Rd. There is also a bakery just down the rd. on Cosby Rd. Enjoy!

First come first served NOT TRUE

Having watched this campground for days as we traveled west from WV, we saw empty sites daily that said first come, first served. We couldn’t book them because they are booked as campers arrive at the last minute. We could see that 3, then 2, then 1 campsites were left as we approached. The attendant, Susanne, told me that she couldn’t let me have the site because someone else was “on the way”. I told her that it is a gov’t campground, and it is supposed to be booked to whomever arrives to claim it first. I had followed the regulations to book the site and she was supposed to rent the site to me. It didn’t happen. She went on to chuckle snuggly when I said there were other campgrounds in the area and that I might yet find something. It is days before July 4. She said NOTHING is available, I should have booked ahead. As we left, I checked another federal site, just 11 miles away. They had vacancies. Rather than lose the vacancy, we drove 2 miles back to Eureka and had Susanne check to see if the site was, in fact, available, and to “hold” it for us, as she had done for the site we came to claim. This woman just told me there was NOTHING available, without even checking the closest campground!!!

Love love love

We showed up at 4:00 and had a selection of about 6 spots.. the rest filled up shortly after. It’s no surprise this place is beautiful. If you can watch the sunset from the observation trail DO IT you won’t regret it!!

Soo nice

On arrival, the electric wouldn’t work. Apparently a breaker was involved. Camp host fixed it. We stayed 3 nights and it was awesome.

Can be nice

Basic campground. No water or electric. One vault toilet. Probably 15 true sites but several grassy areas that tents and hammocks can use.

Well maintained

This campground is beautiful with lots of gardens and potted plants at a lot of the campsites The host is very friendly, the pool is well maintained, they have a dog park The Host even led us to our spot..

Convenient stop

We stayed in the primative loop for $18 with electric and water. The primative sites can be difficult to park in, but, if you are lucky enough to find one that your camper can fit into what a deal.

Great little spot!

This camping spot is just down the road from Southern IL’s Garden Of the Gods. There were 12 camping areas. Plenty of room and trees for tents and hammocks. Also, there is a good amount of shade so if you tent in the right spot you don’t wake up roasting from the sun. The campsites have a lot of room so your neighbors don’t seem like they are on top of your site. The spots include a picnic table, hanging poles for trash or lantern, and a fire pit with movable built-in grill. The area is very wooded so unless the ground is wet you can find lots of firewood. There is a drinking water pump at the entrance of the campsite but it’s pretty chlorinated. There is no shower or running water and the toilets are pit style; but there are toilets. I don’t know if other sites had this but ours had 2 trails leading right out of the woods. Great for close to home hiking.

P.S. Beware of tailless raccoon at site 12 that likes to steal Doritos.

Ranger Review: Dixon Springs Campground

Tent camped in the Cedar Springs camping area of the park. Large sites with lots of trees creating privacy between. There were only a couple other people there, so it was almost like we had the whole place to ourselves. The tall trees are gorgeous. Our site had a pile of excess pine needles which had been taken over by a colony of spiders, so that was not cool. Spider webs were all over the picnic table, so that wasn’t enjoyable to have to take care of. Lots of hiking nearby. We also headed down to checkout Paducah and drove over to the other side of the river to see Mantle Rock and hike on the Trail of Tears.

Nice place

Quiet, peaceful. Slots are large, definitely not confined.